BID Organizations Embody Spirit of Kindness on International Day of Charity

September 5 is International Day of Charity which was created to commemorate the anniversary of the passing of Mother Theresa who was known for her tireless work and divine inspiration to devote herself to caring for the less fortunate and sick.

Two local BID organizations, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada and Saint Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, embody this mentality and provide worthwhile and much needed services to those in our downtown area. From Catholic Charities providing all the meals to the Cares Campus to helping people with immigration services and Saint Thomas Aquinas volunteering at the St. Vincent Dining Hall and offering programs to assist individuals with paperwork for IDs etc., these organizations provide key services to those in our downtown area and this work would not be possible with the generosity and support from our local community.

Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada 
Catholic Charities has been a staple in Reno for over 80 years, serving as the original soup kitchen and food pantry. Fast forward to today and Catholic Charities has a presence in all of Nevada’s counties expect Clark.  

Their core services are two-fold and include crisis intervention services like the Food PantrySt. Vincent’s Dining Room, a Resource Hub, a Benefits Enrollment Center, and case management. In addition, Catholic Charities also has an immigration department and runs a residential program for men who are in sober living who work in thrift store. 

“Our mission starts with ‘how do we best help people on their journey to a level of sustainability?’” said Marie Baxter, CEO of Catholic Charities. Marie shared how the community can help to support their mission:

  • Volunteer! Catholic Charities has 160 staff and relies on volunteers to help in the dining room the food pantry, in the thrift store or helping with holiday drives. “Volunteering with us is equally as rewarding for those volunteering as it is to those who receive the services,” Marie said.
  • Support the thrift stores! Shopping and or donating to one of their thrift store locations where 100 percent of the proceeds come back to fund their programs. “It’s all local and stays right here in our community,” Marie shared. “The thrift stores also employ people who are in our second-chance programs to help them go on and continue to be stable and successful.” 
  • Donate! Two of their programs, Battle Born Housing and the daily lunch and dinners provided to the Cares Campus receive no government funding. They are 100 percent funded by people in the community. 

To learn more about Catholic Charities click here

Saint Thomas Aquinas Cathedral
Saint Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, which was built in 1908 and is on the National Historic Registrar, sees people in need coming through their doors on a daily basis. Whether it’s those who have nowhere else to turn looking for a meal or water, or those who are looking for prayers or funeral services, Saint Thomas Aquinas does what it can for those in our community.   

“Our parishioners downtown have an awareness of the struggle of some of those in our downtown area which is different from partitioners in other locations throughout the city,” Father Chuck said. “People come through our door daily looking for some kind of need. If there need isn’t immediate, we direct them Catholic Charities as they have social workers and additional resources to help.” 

Father Chuck shared Saint Thomas Aquinas just started a new program called Walk with Me which centers on a group of people who are willing to journey with the person who needs help. This help can include meeting with somebody at the church to help with paperwork to get necessary documents completed for things like IDs.   

Additionally, if funds are available, the church is able to help with rental assistance. They also volunteer each Sunday preparing and serving meals at St. Vincent’s Dining Room. 

How you help Saint Thomas Aquinas with its mission: 

  • Be involved in some of their outreach ministry. “Activities like volunteering on Sunday with us at St. Vincent’s or helping with the Walk With Me program we are developing,” Father Chuck explained.
  • Donate to their small food pantry. 
  • Be with them in prayer. “We have strength and wisdom to use what God has given to be that presence to others,” Father Chuck shared. 
  • Cash donations always help in assisting their mission. 

To learn more about Saint Thomas Aquinas, click here.

About the Downtown Reno Partnership
The Downtown Reno Partnership is a private, 501c6 nonprofit created to make downtown Reno a  safer, cleaner and friendlier place for businesses, residents and visitors. Our goal is to change the feel of the district, increase resident and visitor traffic and new business.

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